The John O’Groats to Lands’ End challenge

When you think of epic journeys, one that may come to mind is John O’Groats to Lands’ End (or vice-versa). Travelling the entire length of Great Britain is a challenge that many people take up, often for charity. But where did this challenge come from and what exactly does it entail?

The history of the challenge

The first recorded walk from John O’Groats in the far north of Scotland to Lands’ End in the far south of England came in 1871. Two brothers, John and Robert Naylor, walked the end-to-end journey. They made notes along the way and finally, 45 years later, a book chronicling their travels was published. In 1960, the engineer and long-distance walker Dr Barbara Moore completed the walk in 23 days, gaining much publicity. And from this point, the popularity of the challenge really took off. People were traversing it on foot, on bike, or even on horse. Whether it was to raise money or awareness for a particular charity or simply for the challenge of it. To this day, the journey between John O’Groats and Lands’ End remains popular, and several world records have been set over the years, travelling by various methods – including by lawnmower!

A medal engraved with LEJOG 2013
Lands’ End John O’Groats is sometimes abbreviated to “LEJOG”

The LEJOG journey

This amazing journey takes you between the top (John O’Groats) and the bottom (Lands’ End) of Great Britain, in either direction. It is 874 miles in total, travelling by road, and it takes around 14 days on foot. However, there is a world record for someone running it in just 9 days (we think that they must have had rockets on their shoes!).

There are a number of routes that you can take, which vary in distance and terrain. Many decide to take an off-road route. However, this ups the mileage and can take months rather than weeks. There are guidebooks available to help you plan a route. For cyclists using the National Cycle Network, the distance is 1189 miles and can be split into 5 sections.

Fun fact: John O’Groats isn’t actually the most northerly point in Great Britain. That’s a wee bit further up at Dunnet Head. And Lands’ End isn’t the most southerly, That’s The Lizard. So if you really want to venture from end-to-end, perhaps you’d consider the extra few miles, and travel between Dunnet Head and The Lizard instead?

Dunnet Head Lighthouse
Dunnet Head is actually the most northerly point in Great Britain

Accommodation near John O’Groats

If you’re looking for accommodation near the start or end point of the challenge, John O’Groats in Scotland, come and see us at Mackays in nearby Wick. We offer a warm Scottish welcome and cosy accommodation. The perfect way to rest up before or after a long journey.

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